This is the "Overview" page of the "Gubernatorial Recount of 1962" guide.
Alternate Page for Screenreader Users
Skip to Page Navigation
Skip to Page Content

Gubernatorial Recount of 1962   Tags: 1960s, governors, politics, state government  

Last Updated: May 6, 2014 URL: http://libguides.mnhs.org/recount Print Guide RSS Updates

Overview Print Page
  Search: 
 

Research Options

  • Visit the MNHS Library
    Original materials, records, and newspapers on microfilm are available on site and reference staff can help with research.
  • MNHS Research Services
    Order copies of records, articles, or other specific materials from the MNHS collections.
  • Interlibrary Loan
    MNHS loans out most microfilm materials. Contact your local library for more information and assistance with this service.
  • Online Research
    Some items such as newspapers, articles, photos and objects are available online. Look for links within this guide.
  • Other Libraries
    Many books listed in the Secondary Sources page can be borrowed from other libraries.

Related Research Guides & Webpages

 

Overview

Val Bjornson with Karl Rolvaag, Elmer L. Andersen and Jack Robinson, 1962

In the 1962 race between Lieutenant Governor Karl Rolvaag and Governor Elmer Andersen, the usual stakes were raised just a little bit higher. It would be the first time in Minnesota’s history that the winner would hold a four-year term.

On Election Day, November 6, 1962, 60% of eligible voters—1.3 million—cast ballots in spite of a driving snowstorm in the northern part of the state. Forty percent of those votes were hand-cast ballots. The returns created a seesaw as they came in over the next two days. Initial official returns gave Rolvaag a 59-vote plurality.

The State Canvassing Board met on November 26th and immediately made things worse by splitting three ways on who won and how to proceed. The Supreme Court intervened, ordering the board to accept amended reports from ten counties. On December 3, Rolvaag filed a Notice of Contest with the Clerk of the District Court in Freeborn County beginning an unbelievably complicated political, legal, and physical process.

Chief Justice Oscar Knutson resented an implication in the national press that, since the majority of Supreme Court appointees had been promoted by Andersen, they would rule in his favor. Knutson directed both parties’ recount managers to name a mutually-agreeable three-judge panel to oversee the recount. The selection of Judges Sidney Kaner, J. H. Sylvestre, and Leonard Keyes was the single most important key to carrying out a just and orderly process. That panel, in turn, created 100 recount teams of three consisting of a partisan for each side and an independent.

First both sides agreed that machine vote totals were correct. Then 97,000 hand ballots were challenged. Screening reduced the numbers to 22,000 and finally the three-judge panel was presented with 3,851 ballots for a trial that began on February 25, 1963. Disputed ballots were arranged into 24 categories—such as ballots marked for two candidates, Braatz or “unusual voting marks” like a star, that could be interpreted as an obliteration of an unintended vote.

On March 21, 1963, the three-judge panel issued an order to the Secretary of State, Joe Donovan, to issue a “Certificate of Election” to Rolvaag. A Certificate of Election was sent to Rolvaag on March 25, 1963 and he was sworn in at noon that day—139 days after the election.

 

MHS Reference Staff

reading room bookshelves

Gale Family Library
MN Historical Society Library
345 West Kellogg Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55102

Contact Us:
By Phone (651-259-3300)
or
By Email

Library Hours
Tuesday: 9am to 8pm
Wed. to Sat.: 9am to 4pm
Sunday: Closed
Monday: Closed
Holiday Hours

 

Guide Author

Reference Staff

Katie Jean Davey, Reference Librarian

Minnesota Historical Society Library • 345 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55102-1906 • 651-259-3300
Description

Loading  Loading...

Tip